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Criminal Background Check FAQs

Why is there a question on the BHCLR Application for Admission related to criminal conviction(s)?

All BHCLR Nursing and Allied Health programs include clinical experiences that demand responsible and safe patient care. During learning experiences, students may come in contact with patients, family members and others in a variety of settings.

BHCLR adheres to the policies of affiliating agencies that are used for clinical experiences. Many clinical facilities require criminal background screening for all (including students) who provide clinical care services to the public.

An individual’s disclosure of a conviction allows BHCLR to better advise prospective students about his/her eligibility for licensure/certification in their intended profession.

Successful completion of a background check does not guarantee selection into a BHCLR program of study or licensure, certification or employment after graduation. Selection of an individual for entry to a BHCLR program does not guarantee approval or permission by the Arkansas State Board of Nursing or other agencies to write applicable licensure/certification examinations.

Be informed that individuals convicted of a crime may not be eligible to take licensure/certification examinations (NCLEX-PN, NCLEX-RN, or those required by allied health professions).

In 2000, the Arkansas State Board of Nursing began conducting criminal background checks on all nurses applying for an Arkansas license. This includes new graduates, other nurses applying for licensure from other states and nurses applying for advanced practice (ASBN, 2004). According to the law, persons who have pleaded guilty, nolo contendere, or been found guilty of a crime (as identified in Arkansas Code, Act 1208 of 1999 Legislative Session- ACA 17-87-312) may not be eligible to receive or hold a license issued by the Arkansas State Board of Nursing. The law applies to licensed nurses as well as those individuals seeking licensure.

Additional information is available by accessing the Nurse Practice Act (Sub Chapter section 3- 17-87-312) at http://www.arsbn.arkansas.gov/forms/Documents/NURSEPRACTICEACT_2013.1.2014Subchapter3.pdf

 

I would like to apply for admission to a program at BHCLR. I have had criminal activity(ies) / conviction(s) in my past. How will this affect the application process?

When an individual checks “Yes” to the question related to criminal conviction(s), the individual will be mailed a letter of instruction requesting specific information. The submitted information will be reviewed according to established policy to determine if the individual is eligible to enroll at BHCLR. The application process is suspended until all required documents have been received.

 

I have had criminal activity(ies) / conviction(s) in my past. Should I still mark “Yes” to the question related to criminal conviction(s) on the Application for Admission if:

  1. I have never spent time in jail??
  2. It was many years ago?
  3. It was in a different state or states?

If an individual has ever had a criminal conviction he/she should mark "Yes" to the criminal conviction(s) question on the application for admission. Even if the individual never spent time in jail, he/she should mark "Yes". It does not matter how many years ago the conviction(s) occurred. If the conviction(s) occurred in another state or states, the individual should mark "Yes" on the application.

 

I have had criminal activity(ies) / conviction(s) in my past but I believe the occurrence is no longer on my record/has been expunged/or sealed. How should I answer the question regarding criminal convictions?

When an individual has a conviction sealed or expunged, a judge will issue an order to expunge or seal the record. This individual has a lawful right to mark “No” to the question regarding convictions. BHCLR recommends that an individual, who believes that they have had a conviction expunged or sealed, confirm that with his/her lawyer or the court and secure documentation that the conviction has been expunged or sealed.

If an individual marks “No” to the question regarding criminal convictions and a conviction is revealed on the criminal background check after entry into a program, the individual will be required to submit documentation that the conviction has been expunged or sealed. The individual may be dismissed for falsification on the Application for Admission if no proof can be produced that the conviction has been expunged or sealed.

 

I checked “Yes” on the following question on the Application for Admission

“Have you ever been convicted of a misdemeanor, felony, or plead guilty or nolo contendere to any charge in any state or jurisdiction? Baptist Health College Little Rock defines a crime as all criminal offenses and/or misdemeanors, crimes are not limited to felonies. (DUI, DWI and hot checks are examples of crimes).”
What should I do now?

Individuals who mark “Yes” to this question will be mailed a letter of instruction regarding additional information needed related to the criminal activity (ies) / conviction(s). It is important that the individual follow all directions and submit all required documentation requested in the letter.

 

I have had criminal activity (ies) / conviction(s) in my past but believe it will be very difficult to provide documentation related to the circumstances. What should I do?

An individual in this circumstance will go to the court in the county / state in which the offense occurred. The individual will complete the required form(s) and request documents of the criminal background conviction(s). Be sure to obtain documents showing any required restitution(s) and the resolution(s) with the court. An individual’s file is not complete until all pertinent documents are received. Only completed files are reviewed for selection per BHCLR policy. If additional information is required, the individual will be contacted.

 

I have recently been charged / arrested and I am waiting to go to court. How will this affect the application process?

An individual that has an outstanding legal issue must have total resolution/closure regarding their legal situation prior to seeking application to a BHCLR program of study. The application process will not proceed until resolution/closure is complete. At that point, BHCLR policy for eligibility will apply.

It is the policy of BHCLR that an individual is not eligible to apply to a BHCLR program of study until a minimum of three (3) calendar years have passed from date of closure with the respective Court(s) or Law Enforcement officials. The three-year waiting period does not apply to individuals that have had a conviction expunged or sealed.

Closure may include, but not be limited to, one or more of the following circumstances: parole, probation, incarceration, jail time, payment of court costs, or payment of restitution. The three year period must reflect behaviors of law abiding, good citizenship and specifically “no crime of any type.”

 

Are there any crimes that prevent an individual from being accepted into BHCLR?

An individual is not eligible to apply to or be enrolled in BHCLR until a minimum of three calendar years have passed from the date of closure with the respective court(s) or law enforcement officials.

Enrollment is dependent on the results of the CBC. A conviction of a Violent Crime, defined as "a crime in which the offender uses or threatens to use violent force upon the victim", will result in denial of entry or dismissal. Crimes, other than Violent Crimes, are evaluated on a case by case basis. BHCLR defines a crime as "any felony of misdemeanor, excluding traffic offenses. DUI, DWI and hot checks are exampels of crimes."

An individual's application for admission and associated materials are reviewed on an individual basis. The paramount responsibility of BHCLR is the protection of the public in the selection, education and graduation of individuals.

An individual applying for nursing licensure in Arkansas is referred to the Arkansas Nurse Practice Act (Sub Chapter section 3-17-87-312) for specific information regarding offenses that are considered permanent disqualification for licensure.

Additional information may be viewed by accessing the Nurse Practice Act (Sub Chapter section 3- 17-87-312 at http://www.arsbn.org/pdfs/SUBCHAPTER_3.pdf

 

I have had a Criminal Background Check in the past for another reason. May I submit this one to BHCLR?

No, BHCLR does not accept Criminal Background Checks (CBC) previously submitted to other agencies or institutions. The CBC must be current as determined by the application date or letter of instruction.

 

I am required to submit a background check report related to my criminal background. Where can I get an Arkansas Criminal Background Check?

To obtain an Arkansas Criminal History Report, an individual may go to the Arkansas State Police ID Bureau in Little Rock on Geyer Springs Road at I-30 and complete a request. There is a fee for the report to be paid by individual at the time of the request. The report will be given to the individual for submission to BHCLR. For more on-line information about background checks through the Arkansas State Police, go to www.asp.state.ar.us and click on “criminal background checks now available.”

 

I believe there is a mistake on my Criminal Background Check. What should I do?

If an individual believes there is a mistake on his/her CBC, he/she must contact the court in the county/state in which the offense occurred. Only the the court can make needed changes.

Are hot checks, DUI or DWI crimes?

Yes, hot checks, DUI and DWI are examples of crimes.